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Loop Energy collaborates with CRRC to develop fuel cell electric drive systems for heavy-duty trucks

Canada-based Loop Energy (earlier post) has entered a collaboration agreement with Hunan CRRC Times Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd. (a subsidiary of CRRC Corporation Ltd.) to develop zero-emission power systems for heavy-duty transportation applications.

The power system to be developed for the initial project will combine Loop’s fuel cell technologies with CRRC’s leading electric drive train system to provide a better performing solution for heavy-duty trucks in comparison to traditional diesel engines.

CRRC Corporation Ltd., with annual revenue of over $40 billion, is the largest supplier of rail transit equipment in the world and has 46 wholly- owned and majority-owned subsidiaries. Its subsidiary, Hunan CRRC Times Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd. is a world leader in developing and building electric vehicles and drivetrains for a variety of vehicle classes and applications, having produced more than 20,000 units of powertrains and more than 10,000 units of electric vehicles.

In March, Loop Energy—formerly known as PowerDisc Development—was awarded a $7.5-million grant from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to accelerate deployment of the company’s new zero-emission powertrain for heavy-duty trucks.

This agreement with Hunan CRRC Times Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd. is a key step on our commercialization path. CRRC’s deep experience with electric drivetrains and components, combined with their ability to rapidly scale production, align perfectly with our deployment plans. End customers will benefit from this collaboration as we lead the path to a variety of economical, zero-emission vehicle solutions.

—Ben Nyland, President of Loop Energy

We believe fuel cell electric drive systems are the ultimate solution for new energy vehicles,. We chose to partner with Loop Energy because their approach provides a clear path to driving down the cost of zero-emission transportation and to making zero-emission transportation commercially viable.

—Guo Wei, Vice General Manager of Hunan CRRC Times Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd.

Loop’s heavy­duty power unit combines an electric battery with a hydrogen fuel cell designed around its patented eFlow technology. eFlow addresses unequal current distribution in the fuel cell by improving the flow of oxygen, fuel and water within a fuel cell and avoiding degradation of the fuel cell membrane and stack materials.

A standard flow channel in a fuel cell is based on a constant cross-sectional area. With this design, the mass flow rate reduces proportionally with the consumption rate—and therefore the flow velocity also reduces. This leads to uneven flow distribution, resulting in stack performances which are more variable compared to single cell measurements.

By contrast, eFlow channels feature a cross-sectional area which converges down the length of the channel to compensate for the reduction in mass flow rate due to reactant consumption. This design levelizes reactant availability throughout the entire flow channel. MacKinnon and Wingrove (2014) Click to enlarge.

The net result is that eFlow increases overall fuel cell durability, enables higher peak power, and significantly reduces cost due to greater membrane resiliency, the elimination of costly system components, and improved lifetime, the company says.

Loop’s chairman is Dr. Andreas Truckenbrodt, who as CEO/CTO of Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (Daimler/Ford/Nissan), was responsible for driving fuel cell commercialization. He also led the Hybrid Development Center for DaimlerChrysler.




FC + batteries or FC + Super caps could be excellent combinations for heavy trucks, long haul buses and locomotives.

Down sized versions could easily find their way into cars and light vehicles like SUVs and light trucks.

Resistance to clean H2 main and sub stations will weaken by 2020 or so, soon after the first 1000+ stations are in operation in Japan, EU, USA etc.


Create the H2 by some means other than fossil fuels and I could support your ideas. Keep the carbon in the ground so it can't be used to pollute.

HD> Resistance to clean H2 main and sub stations will weaken by 2020...

It's not resistance, Harvey, it's skepticism. Skepticism founded in billions of public funds invested and failed execution. Not just delays and cost overruns, but stations opened and then closed before the completion of grant fund requirements. Leaves a bad taste.

Wild, unsubstantiated claims about how much better it wi be in 5-10 years also engender skepticism.



Instead of engaging in corporate trolling of every thread on hydrogen on other sites when you have your own to present your views, if you are not keen on 'wild, unsubstantiated claims' you could get down to doing some actual journalism on Tesla, and its perfectly ludicrous claim that it will go to hundreds of thousands of Model 3 cars by 2018, a claim so daft the two people who would have been most responsible for carrying it out promptly resigned.

That would make a change from your innumerable articles praising Tesla and having nothing remotely approaching a critical appraisal, let alone investigative journalism.


I enjoy eci's posts; don't see it as trolling. Perhaps you need to get by all this and give us the benefit of your unbiased thinking on the issues.



To be clear I have never criticised people for having negative opinions of hydrogen or fuel cells, and have engaged in dialogue with them.

That is a very different matter to one site routinely trolling comments on another blog, and wholly unprofessionally using that as an additional platform to promote their prejudices.

Were they to post under their own names or handles that is an entirely different matter.

Corporate propaganda masquerading as comment is another.

We all understand you've run out of valid arguments, Davemart, when you resort to Ad Homenim attacks. Nothing about the validity of the point, just endless character attacks. Noise.

How many pro-Tesla posts have I made, Davemart? What percentage of my posts or articles even mention Tesla? A tiny minority, actually. Low single digits. Tesla coverage is two pages of 64 in the last edition of Electric Car Insider Magazine. I've yet to write a single article about the Tesla Model 3.

Your rants are totally baseless.


Let me try a constructive comment. Fuel Cells for buses and heavy trucks allow for development of the H2 distribution at centralized locations (Interstate fuel stops?). That could form the base for a more robust distribution system for privately owned vehicles.

Thanks for your constructive approach, JMartin. I agree that heavy trucks may be a viable use case for hydrogen, just as CNG is now. The headwinds are pricing (capex and maintenance) and availability of the requisite skills.

BYD now has a ~200 mile electric bus. Other vendors are also making great progress. Hydrogen does not have very many advantages if your duty cycle can be satisfied with a BEV and overnight charging.


For fuel cells, if you size your battery right you could get by with a 50kw-100kw stack and run it non stop for long hauls.(in a truck) where as you might need several hundred kwhs of battery to reach the destination in one shot.

It'll be nice when electric cars (bevs and fc) are mainstreamed. I image it'll coincide with autonomous driving's growth.

Autonomous trucking could utilize battery only, but for long hauls it might be a fc to keep cost down. Though if up time was 20hrs a day, it could be with the investment. Basically charge at the dock and run not stop otherwise.

But I think it would be over a Mwh of capacity to make it worth while. I think price isn't going to be the barrier for BEV trucks, it's going to be volume and weight of the packs. There is a set limit to the weight.

CE> There is a set limit to the weight

If that is true, how do you explain energy densities steadily improving at about 8% per year?

BMW just announced 50% greater energy from the same size pack originally introduced only a few years ago, and only a slight weight increase.

Lithium based batteries could be as much as 10x the current energy density before hitting the limit of physics.


Yes, at the current development rate, 10-10-10 batteries may be around by 2045 or so and could be used for e-truck and e-buses with 1000 KW to 1500 KW quick charging facilities.

OTOH, FCs from Honda (and others) have already reached that type of energy density and could go much further by 2045? Secondly, more compact, lower pressure, SS H2 tanks will be in common use by 2020 or so. Thirdly, more progress will be made (shortly) on lower cost, more efficient electrolysers from clean Hydro-Wind-Solar-Nuke electricity.

Both BEVs and FCEVs will progress and both will be used.

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